Women in Digital and Computational Spaces: Meet Bilikisu Olatunji

Today our spotlight shines on Bilikisu Olatunji . Bilikisu is a data scientist at the Business Data Laboratory Limited and member of Abuja R User group, R-Ladies Abuja and rOpenSci.

In short

📽️ What is your all time favourite movie and what makes it so special?

Frozen. Elsa’s story relates so much to me. I struggled to find self-empowerment and overcome trauma which was not easy but led to a life of isolation. I overcome this pain through self-discovery, hope, knowing and appreciating my loved ones.

🎞️ Frozen Trailer

📚 Can you describe your background and your current role?

  • What line of work are you in?
  • Give a short summary of what you do in this role
  • What did you study?
  • How did you get involved in the tech space?
  • What software do you use on a daily basis in your job?
  • How did you learn to use these tools?
  • Which tool has the biggest impact on your ability to succeed at work?
  • Do you think women are well represented in your line of work?

I am a data scientist and I got into tech after graduating with a B.Sc. in Industrial Chemistry. My university experience didn’t give me much motivation to continue in the field of chemistry which I love so much. I started as a web developer, and then a software developer before taking a long break to care for my family. I got back to working independently as a business analyst having taking some courses while on my long break. I got the spark to go into data science while working on a data science and analytics-related project as a business analyst. I was curious and fascinated with what had been achieved with data and that was it. I slowly developed my skills in data science by taking online courses using Python and R programming languages with a preference for R. R was easy to learn and the community was very open and friendly. I also got into building learning communities to get support from professionals, and also giving back to the community by volunteering my time to teach and mentor. Along the way, I have also had opportunities to contribute to open-source projects like the rOpensci Champions program.

Although the numbers might be low, concerning women’s representation. For me, women’s representation does not determine their strength. The women I had the opportunity of meeting have had more lasting impact on my life and my journey in the data science field.

🌱 Tell us more about your community of practice

  • Describe the purpose of this community from your point of view.
  • How did you get involved?
  • Why do you find it useful to be a part of this community?
  • Is your community accessible and welcoming to women? If so, how?
  • How can other people become a part of this community?
  • What other communities of practice are you a part of?

Our communities, Abuja R User group and R-Ladies Abuja were founded to enable individuals struggling to get their feet stable in technology - data science, and analytics using open source programming languages especially R through support from individuals from the academic and industry sector as they grow on their journey to professionalism. Creating the groups for me has served as the perfect haven to grow for me starting my journey into data science using R. I got the opportunity to learn, teach, mentor, and network. So, many of our members have achieved success within these communities. I am also a champion within the rOpenSci, a community for R users and package developers as well as a member of the R-Ladies Global community which provides an enabling community for women and minority groups.

💡 What advice do you have for women in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) eager to grow their computational skills?

My advice would be “Don’t be hard on yourself, believe in yourself, believe in your journey and your chosen path, and always belong to a community and get support when you need it."

Remember, “Ubuntu is about a community coming together to help one another.” — Paul Pierce